March 13th 2010 9:11 pm
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Sunday, March 7
The plan was to go to the track to watch the horse races. It was supposed to be some major Korean races going on; their version of the Breeder's Cup or something similar. They wouldn't let me in. We knew they probably wouldn't let me in the infield (where all the cool stuff is), but the pawrents had planned on going to the foreigner lounge. Mom was ticked; Dad was disappointed.
The new plan was to get back on the subway and go down another stop to the Grand Park Zoo. It was a long walk to get to the gates. Mom had looked at their website and it said that pets were allowed, but not in certain areas. Service Dogs aren't allowed in certain sections of zoos at home, so it wasn't a big deal. We did find out that they have changed their policy. No pets are allowed now. A supervisor came to look at my ID and vest. She then informed everyone that I was allowed. We were not questioned again.
I'll say it now; we did not see everything. We will be going back mainly because I was enjoying looking at the various animals. I saw some critters that were strange and some that were a little scary.
Some of the Flamingos were light pink and some were dark coral. There were Emus and Ostriches, some sort of red African velt herbivores and a pair of young Asian Water Buffalo that were sparring with each other. Mom noticed that they appeared to be “cut”. That's the first time she's seen a zoo use non-reversible means of birth control.
We visited the Australian section where I had to stand on my hind legs to see into the Wallaby Walleroo, and Kangaroo cages. Outside, there was no barrier keeping people from touching the animals through the fence! Mom kept me on the walkway as some of the roos were reaching through the fence. Several followed us along the fence line trying to figure out what I was doing.
Next was the “nocturnal” building. It was very dark inside. There were bats, owls, a Palm Civet (that caused some coffee jokes), a Picachu, and other bug-eyed furries. That was followed by the bug building. It was a mix of live and preserved specimens. They had several setups of Dad's favorite Rhino beetles including some 29 gallon bow front aquariums with hoods. Mom suspects her 20g breeder tank is going to become beetled heaven when we get back home. They also had a ton of frogs and tarantulas.
There was a huge open air aviary that the pawrents didn't even attempt to enter. It was full of peacocks, cranes, and other water birds. It was an extreme contrast to how the raptors were housed. They were in cages. I got their attention. It was almost like I was their enrichment for the time I was around. It is rather unnerving to have birds with 7+foot wingspans staring at you like you are lunch.
We did go through the regular bird house. Right inside the door, they had several birds, including a male eclectus) in regular bird cages like one would have in their home. As we walked by, one of them started screaming which made Dad turn to Mom and say, “That is the one reason I don't want a bird!”; Mom wants a female eclectus. Mom had to point out that it wasn't the male E making all of the noise, but a cockatoo.
Tucan Sam was very yellow. His comb almost looked fake. We saw the usual pet shop fare. Several Scarletts, Blue and Golds, a red lorikeet. There was a cage with several cockatoos. One was head bobbing with his comb so far up it looked impossible. He was screaming as he danced. We watched from a distance and it appeared that he just liked to hear himself. The Macaws had awesome enclosures. They spanned 2 stories and we could view them from each floor. Again, there was nothing to keep the public away from the wire. Several people were offering the birds corn on the cob and who only knows what else.
Things got interesting at the South American exhibits. I became the center of attention because the Llamas decided to follow me along the fence. The Koreans thought this was too funny and some started following us around to see how the animals and I interacted. The next outdoor pen contained peccaries. There was a ledge then glass. I put my paws up on the ledge so I could see. Most of them were towards the back of the enclosure. One came up and tried to sniff me through the glass. I'm use to piggies being much, much bigger. Then we went into the building. The capybaras were inside as was an anteater. He was huge; the tapir was even bigger. We also saw nutria and some rabbit looking animals. There were several monkey enclosures; some were two story. There was a long curving ramp up to the second floor. That's where I met the spider monkey. He hung onto the cage and was looking at me through the glass wall on the walkway. He started talking to me. Mom picked me up so I could see him better. He climbed up to eye level and stuck his hand out. Mom started talking to him. He looked soo lonely. There was a young capuchin in another enclosure (with several older animals). He came over to see us.
They had a variety of aquatic turtles, caymen, alligators, salt water and fresh water crocs. The salties looked like they would be needing larger quarters shortly. We had missed the actual feeding time, but could see evidence that it had happened not long before. Chicken leg quarters and necks were on the menu. None of them noticed me. I guess my smell was lost among the smells of the other animals. Much better than when the croc at the Coex scented me and went into stalk mode.
The Coatimundi were frisking around, the 6-banded armadillos were sleeping all curled up, and the sloths were being sloths...slowly moving along their rope trees. It was cool to watch them move. It's amazing they can hold on with those nails. On the way out, there were 4 exhibits; 3 contained snakes (including an Anaconda) while the fourth was guinea pigs. It looked like they could smell the snakes.
We saw part of the herbivore exhibits. Some sort of non North American deer wanted to follow me. The American Bison didn't pay any attention to me. Hey, as far as I'm concerned, they are just overly large cows. I've been there and done that. Nothing to it. There was also some red stag looking fellows that had lost their antlers.
By this time, it was starting to get late. We missed getting to see the nursery. We headed over towards the large carnivores. I stopped when I smelled the black bears. I know that reek; I've tracked them before. Mom told me it was ok and that it couldn't get to me. I looked around and noticed that everyone wasn't freaking out about it being soo close. Dad took up a position on my right so that I was walking in between them which eased my concerns.
The bears were too busy catching junk food being thrown by the visitors. Between that and the screeching the people were doing, the three of us were a little disgusted. It seems that everywhere you go, some people find it impossible to read/follow instruction of not feeding the animals.
It wasn't just them making inappropriate noises at the animals, but at me as well. If I have to hear some adult telling their kid “mong mong” (translates into woof woof) one more time, I think I'm going to bite the offender in the face!
Dad got some really good pics of the cougars. I've smelled Florida panthers before, so this was very similar. We were standing about 6 foot from them and the snow leopards. It was a little surreal. They were stalking me, but they weren't vocalizing. Before they saw me, the big one was stalking a bratty kid in a stroller and the parents were completely oblvious.
Everyone stated taking pics of the perked up kitties. The snow leopard really got into it. The big one literally jogged all over the enclosure trying to figure out how to get out. He even went into their “den”and when he came back out he looked almost defensive. We moved on to the tigers.
Mom thought one saw me, it was looking our direction and seemed to lock on and it came towards us, but then jumped on one of its sleeping buddies. That one started growling and bared teeth at the first one. Dad got it on film. The other two big section had a bunch of sleeping tigers. Then there were 2 (one with normal coloration and a “white” that looked seriously mentally challenged) in a cage like the cougars and leopards. The “white” tiger's stripes were a dingy brown. We passed several more cages of sleeping leopards and jags.
There was a small carnivore building. Some of the animals were inside due to the weather. Mom opted to not take me inside. Dad went. We then walked around to see the animals that were outside. More coatimundis and some sort of small kitty that wasn't an ALC. The kitty was more my size; it came down to check me out.
I started air scenting hard when we got downwind of the coyotes. Only one was awake; the others were laid up on a rock asleep. They sure were a lot bigger than what Mom and I are accustomed to seeing. Plus, they had really plush pelts thanks to the weather. It really wanted at me; I admit, I held my tail up and pranced around. I didn't do that in front of the wolves. I was much more respectful. Most of them were asleep. The one that was awake was very pretty. I turned sideways and averted my eyes, but I didn't cower. She got as close as she could. Mom was talking to her very softly. Dad was too busy looking at something to take pics.
The red foxes (which looked to be more of the European type reds) were asleep. Mom wants to go back just to get pics of me with them. It also made her really miss Louie and Versace. Those are two Florida red foxes that live at Old Dad's property.
The park started blaring a message in Korean. Closing time. By this time, Mom was walking really slowly because her feet hurt. She had been gaiting worse and worse through the day so by closing time, it wasn't just her feet hurting, but her knees and hips. Some of the steep inclines didn't help her knee issues at all.
We took the little trolly thing back to the parking lot, but it was still a long walk to the subway. We got down there after the crowd only to find out that the elevator was out of order and the only way down on that side was stairs. Dad was like “stairs it is” and Mom said “no”. We ended up having to cross like 8 lanes of traffic to get to an elevator. When the train finally came, it was full. Mom managed to snag a spot to stand where I wouldn't get stepped on. I stood between her feet. It finally emptied out enough she could snag a seat. We got off at Gate 17. Mom knew where the elevators are, so that was easy (sometimes they can be in really out of the way places on the platform level). The 5 steps to get inside the gate area wasn't easy. We called for one of the base cabs to get the rest of the way home.
I got a bath and ate while the pawrents got showers then we went to bed.
Mom is getting the info together to send the track a letter stating that she's going to ask other military families, American and Canadian ESL teachers, tourists, and expats to boycott the track since they discriminate against the disabled.
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